The Role of Women in the Progressive Era

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The Progressive Movement and its Impact

The term progressivism refers to a range of responses, which focused on social and economic issues that industrialization introduced in the United States (US). Progressivism commenced as a social crusade but grew to include political concerns. Progressivists held that the problems faced in the society such as racism, greed, poverty, class warfare, and violence could only be resolved by offering an efficient workplace, good education, and a safe environment among others. As a result, this era witnessed the formation of initiatives to fight economic and political corruption and finding solutions to social concerns in areas such as public health and labor among others.

Women in the Progressive Era

Progressivism influenced the roles that women took in society and saw women take great initiative and leadership positions in various social and political movements. For instance, women had been fighting for their voting right (Suffragettes) since 1848 during the Seneca Falls meeting. However, they attained this objective during the progressive era through the 19th amendment ratification in 1920. Progressivism also saw women become peace activists ("Progressive Era Reformers"). Before 1914, men dominated peace organizations and focused on international laws and stability. However, the outbreak of World War I saw more women proliferate in peace groups and change the focus of these movements. These new leaders represented progressive reformers, social gospel clergy, social workers, and feminists.

Women's Influence on Progressivism

Women also influenced the issues that progressivism attempted to address. Women practiced what historians refer to as Maternalist politics. Concentrating on problems that affected them as mothers and wives, they promoted the idea that a woman was particularly capable of resolving the issues that faced the society. Further, by stressing traditional traits, the women's social reformers fashioned their new space in government before even they were allowed to vote. Also, they managed to carve out new chances for paid labor in various professions such as public health and social work.

Work Cited

"Progressive Era Reformers."History of U.S. Woman's Suffrage, 2018, Accessed 14 Oct 2018.

November 24, 2023
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